Crime

Harry Sargeant III Under DOJ Investigation for Alleged Bribes to Jordanian Government

Harry Sargeant III -- the energy mogul, Delray Beach billionaire, and former Florida Republican Party finance chairman -- is under investigation by the Department of Justice to determine whether his oil company bribed the country of Jordan for an exclusive shipping line through the country.

In case you're unaware, this is not the first time Sargeant has been under investigation by one government department or another.

Now New Times freelancer Penn Bullock, in a special for msnbc.com, says the Justice Department is looking forward to a grand jury investigation.

A few months ago, Sargeant was accused by Mohammad al-Saleh -- the brother-in-law of Jordan's King Abdullah II -- of wiring $9 million to the Jordanian government from his Boca Raton-based International Oil Trading Co.

The point of that wire transfer, al-Saleh's lawyers allege, was as a bribe to Jordan's intelligence agency to allow Sargeant to use Jordanian thoroughfares to get fuel to U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Bullock says new court filings from al-Saleh's lawyers claim that the $9 million wire transfer is the focus of a pending grand jury investigation by the Department of Justice for potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and Sargeant's lawyers accidentally confirmed that:

Asked about the grand jury investigation, Ron Uscher, a lawyer for Sargeant, said, "You shouldn't know about that," but he then claimed to know nothing of it and declined further comment. Another lawyer for Sargeant did not respond to repeated inquiries, and al-Saleh's lawyers declined to comment. In a deposition, Abu Naba'a, a Dominican businessman, acknowledged that he had been contacted in recent months by Justice Department investigators. The Justice Department did not respond to inquiries.

There are a few signs that point to Sargeant as an archetypal war profiteer -- like when a congressional committee found he'd been overcharging the Department of Defense hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, which a Pentagon audit confirmed.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Sargeant is currently suing the Pentagon for $75 million, claiming he was underpaid.

Click here for more background information on Sargeant's alleged bribe.


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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley